Ronnie Price, former Utah Jazzman.
To his former teammates, that sounds very strange.
Price, who played college ball at Utah Valley University and spent four seasons with the Jazz, signed with the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday. He will battle for minutes behind former MVP Steve Nash.
Price wanted to stay in Utah and compete for playing time behind starter Devin Harris and backup Earl Watson. But the Jazz brought free agent Jamaal Tinsley to camp as well as ex-Jazzman Keith McLeod.
They also signed another guard, Scottie Reynolds, on Wednesday, giving them 17 men on their training camp roster.
Price was a popular player with the Jazz. Popular with fans who loved his athleticism and toughness and popular with his teammates, too.
Price played in a charity game at Salt Lake Community College during the lockout and also worked out with friends C.J. Miles and Paul Millsap.
“I spoke to him briefly (on Tuesday), just told him congrats and what not,” Miles said. “Coming in, your mind always said, ‘He’s going to be back.’ That’s just the mindset. That’s how it is, we worked out together for a couple of weeks.”
Miles said he’ll miss his friend, but wishes him the best.
Jazz guard Raja Bell, who left the Jazz prior to the 2005-06 season and signed a free agent deal with the Suns, said Price will fit in well in Phoenix.
“I think that’s going to be a great opportunity for him and I told him that when he told me he was going,” Bell said. “I think their style of play is going to be really great for him and the way he likes to get up and down and the energy he brings.”
According to a report in the Arizona Republic, Price was at his home in Utah late Monday night when he learned the Suns wanted him in training camp. He got up at 4 a.m. Tuesday morning was was practicing with the Suns later that night.
“Just a fresh new start for me,” Price said told The Republic. “This is a playing style that I always wanted to be a part of. They really get up and down the floor. It’s something that I wanted to do. I think, in my NBA career, I haven’t really had a chance to get up and down the floor the way these guys do and I’m looking forward to the opportunity.”